Today, through this property surveying blogpost topic, we are going to be looking at party wall procedures.
In particular, we are going to be taking a look at the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and the procedures that follow in the event that an adjoining owner has dissented to the Party Wall Notice.
Firstly, for this to apply, the building owner would have needed to have served a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner in advance of their proposed works commencing.
The adjoining owner would have considered the works set out within the Notice, and ultimately made the informed assessment that they wanted to dissent to that Party Wall Notice.
Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice effectively means that the adjoining owner would like the procedures and protections as set out by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 administered.
The procedural aspects of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 post Party Wall Notice dissent are as follows:
Party Wall Surveyor Review
The adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will take a careful and comprehensive review of the building owner’s works from the perspective of the adjoining owner’s property.
Importantly, the surveyor will be looking for all associated risks, nuisance and issue that currently exists within the works as well as taking into account those that could result by virtue of the works progressing.
The surveyor’s role will be to ensure that these are fully considered, and that any considerations and requests that the adjoining owner has are indeed taken into account.
Party Wall Surveyor Information Requests
The Party Wall Surveyor will likely request information that he or she believes to be reasonable and necessary.
These can include, however, are not limited to: construction details, working hours, contractor insurances, structural engineering information, and Thames build over agreements.
The type of requests that will be made will very much depend on the overall works that are taking place, along with the risks associated with them.
Schedule of Condition Reports
Prior to the building owner’s works commencing, the Party Wall Surveyors will undertake a Schedule of Condition report of the adjoining owner’s property, whereby the current record and condition of their property is recorded in both written and photographic format.
The purpose of the report is to ensure that the current lay of the land is documented and put on file.
This ensures that, should there be any claim of issue or damage further down the line, it is a straightforward procedure for the Party Wall Surveyor, or Party Wall Surveyors, to deal with the damage and ensure that the adjoining owner is not left out of pocket in that regard.
Party Wall Award Agreement
The Party Wall Award, also commonly referred to as a Party Wall Agreement, is the legal document that validates the building owner’s proposed construction works.
The existence of the Award effectively means that the building owner has a legal right to commence the works.
The Party Wall Award will not only govern the building owner’s proposed works, it will also set out various different procedures to be administered and followed in the event of any issue such as damage.
A Party Wall Award needs to be served upon the building owner and adjoining owner prior to the construction works commencing.
Post Work Schedule of Condition Report
Once the construction works have been completed, the final piece of the puzzle is for the Party Wall Surveyor to undertake a post construction inspection.
This inspection will effectively see the Party Wall Surveyor retrace his or her steps as taken in the original pre works Schedule of Condition report.
Importantly, the Party Wall Surveyor will be attempting to establish if there has been any issue or damage in that regard.
Assuming there hasn’t been, at that stage the file would be closed, or archived.
However, do please note that the passage of time for which an adjoining owner can claim for damage is generally considered to be six years.
Effectively, this means that within a six-year window the law still deems it reasonable for damage to have occurred.
In practise, it is worth noting that the longer the passage of time from when the works took place to when the damage occurs, generally speaking, the less likely the link is.
Here at Stokemont, we undertake numerous different party wall surveying jobs each and every day, from your conventional chimney breast removal, loft conversion, rear or side extension, and your complex jobs such as basement conversions, deep excavations and significant structural change.
We pride ourselves on both our experience, approach and client care.
If you would like to discuss how our team of experienced and qualified Party Wall Surveyors can be of assistance to you, give us a call today and we would be more than happy to assist and advise you.